Monday, July 09, 2007

An Embarrassment of Figs


I spent an hour today harvesting figs. And yesterday. And the day before. I expect I’ll do it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that……

Several years ago, new to Florida, we innocently planted a little fig sapling. It arrived in a small box in the mail. There were no warnings attached. Nothing to indicate that this little sapling would grow into a monster fig tree and inundate us, for at least a month each year, with the fruit of its loins.

Our knowledge of figs was limited. I’ve heard that fig leaves were the cool thing to wear in the Garden of Eden. The OC grew up on fig newtons. I grew up on their Irish equivalent, fig rolls. They wouldn’t have made it onto a list of my ten favourite cookies. We were totally unprepared for how delicious fresh figs are, picked warm from the tree and popped directly into your mouth. Edible sunshine.

I hauled the ladder to the tree this morning to pick today’s crop. They’re ripe when they turn golden and their texture is soft. I stretched and reached and teetered, climbing up and down to deposit my loot in the bucket. Where the ladder wouldn’t go, I intrepidly went, risking life and arthritic limb.

And got scolded by a cheeky bird who ignored my efforts to shoo him, hopping from branch to branch, so close to me that I could, at considerable risk of ending up in the hospital, have reached out and throttled the bugger.

“Excuse me bird---whose fig tree is this anyway? I’m a reasonable woman. I’ll share. Just quit your squawking and flapping!” When I regaled The Bean with my bird tale later he asked ---

“Brown bird? Speckled? Long beak? Bad attitude?”
“Yes!” I said, “that’s him.”
“I know him,” he said.
“He’s the one who sits on the wire while I’m picking the blackberries,that I grew, and squawks at me, as though I was stealing from him! Yeah. His days are numbered.”


Anyhow. The purpose of this post is to beg for HELP! If anyone out there has tried-and-true recipes for using up a gazillion figs I’d love to hear about them. The neighbours are starting to bar their doors and hide when they see us coming, fig-laden. And we’ve eaten them ‘til our bellies ache. We need creative suggestions for the fig inundation. H.E.L.P!!

18 comments:

Tanya Brown said...

Oh, wow! I'll trade you some green beans and plums for some figs. Hmmm. On second thought, maybe that's not my smartest idea.

This place has tons of recipes which use figs, although whether any one of them uses tons in and of itself is quite another question. I remember my mother used to make fig preserves - so sweet your teeth would curl, but also quite good.

http://www.recipesource.com/

Ali Honey said...

What a lovely problem to have.
( hehe)
We had a fig tree for a while but it had to be chopped out because it was too big where it was growing! So I do sympathise. Best raw I think. You could try advertising them.

sMC said...

Jam....Molly....scrumptious. The Scot has a fig tree but unfortunately your speckled,long beaked,bad attidude of a bird has relatives down under and they do their job very well here too. What terrible English, but you know what I mean. :))

Aunty Evil said...

Can't help.

But I really don't "give a fig" either.

Ohhhhh, hahahaha, I crack myself up, I really do!

C'mon, smile, you knew someone had to say it, didn't you?

Zanna said...

Don't know about you in Ireland but we as kids in Scotland used to be given Syrup of Figs to combat constipation!! Was really surprised as an adult to discover like you how delicious fresh figs were.

kerewin said...

Fun Summer dessert:

Puree your favorite berry, be it black, straw or raspberry and put in a squeeze bottle (or in a bowl and spoon onto plate, you'll get that later).

Whip mascarpone cheese with fresh chopped mint until fluffy. Put in a ziploc (or pastry/icing bag) and cut a corner off.

Meanwhile, take each fig and cut it from top until almost bottom (don't cut through) and then repeat at a 180 degree angle (quartering the fig but not cuttting through it).

On a plate make 3 circles with the fruit puree, place a fig on top of each circle, pipe the mascarpone into the center of the fig. Serve 3 to a plate.

Fantastic dessert, neighbors ask for recipe, you give them recipe AND figs!

riseoutofme said...

I could come back.

And we could loll on chaise longues while the brawny eunuchs dance attendance on us with platters laden with succulent figs and other hedonistic delights ...

Isabelle said...

How nice it must have been for you to read Kerewin's helpful recipe suggestion instead of all those frivolous comments. (Are eunuchs brawny? I had always imagined not. But I can't claim any experience.) However, I have nothing to contribute, fig trees not being known to flourish in the frozen north. But at least I'm pleased to think of your insides getting a good purge...

Now I must go out and tackle the back garden because - for one of the first times since May - it's NOT RAINING HERE!

nutmeg said...

I would have voted for the fig jam as well - use it all year round then (don't know how the intestines etc would go though?) But that cream cheese dish sounds fab. I love them just on their own but at around $1 each here it's a bit rich. Maybe you could sell them?

nutmeg said...

Oh another recipe is to bake them wrapped in proscuitto (sp?) and some gouda (or some other cheese like this). Now that is delicious.

riseoutofme said...

Frivolous??? FRIVOLOUS?????

In this god-forsaken puddle of a country, one has to dream just to survive ....

And yes, these eunuchs are definitely brawny ... and bronzed ...and bootiful ....

None of those scrawny, squeaking specimens in my reveries ....

mjd said...

Edible sunshine is a delightful thought, Molly. The only fig recipe that I know consists of going to the store and buying Fig Newtons. Maybe, I remember having Fig bread as a child; then, there is the ever famous and popular Figgy Pudding. When I want or need recipes, I usually search online.

Molly said...

What a lovely surprise to find all your comments, frivolous and otherwise, this morning! Fig-like bounty....
Wow, Tanya. That site is awesome. I've printed out all kinds of recipes...
Ali --- Fig trees are also nice to look and give great shade. Pity to have to cut it down....
Birdy --- Have several recipes for fig jam from the site Tanya sent me to...Tell the Sassenach he needs to fight back!
Aunty --- There's a smartass in every group...
Kerewin --- sounds downright decadent...Thanks!
Rise --- Come back, come back! Whatever it takes, warm weather, sunshine, pool boys, figs...
Isabelle --- Glad to hear the rain has let up.Sounds like you and Rise have been puddle-bound.

Molly said...

Hey Zanna! did that syrup work??

Nutmeg---You rarely see figs in the shops around here---they're so perishable. And when you do they're outrageously expensive. Many of the recipes on the site suggested by Tanya included proscutto....sounds like a yum combination.

mjd---you're right. There are recipes for EVERYTHING on there. No excuses! Loved your old book thing....

Liz said...

Why am I never there when the figs ripen? Always hearing tales of this bounty and never getting to partake. Waaahhhh.

meggie said...

Oh I wish I was close. I love figs.
We had to compete with the birds, & ours went a purple colour when ripe.
Nutmeg is right, they are like gold in the shops..far too expensive.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Ohhh, I wish I were your neighbor. I LOVE figs so much. In California, they are in season twice a year, but for only a few weeks each time. I eat them until I practically burst, and even better, my husband doesn't like them except in Fig Newtons, so they are mine, all mine.

They never last long enough to go into recipes, though. Sorry to be unhelpful, I just got carried away with the wonder of owning a fig tree of ones own.

Judith said...

fig rolls are rank and jacobs are even trying to remarket the 'roll' by putting strawberry in them? They should really just take them off the market. Over in this shoddy corner of dublin I dream of plucking fresh figs and popping one into my mouth you lucky cailin!